Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Hilliard

Tyra Hilliard

Attorney, Tyra Hilliard, Esq.

Tyra Hilliard is an attorney, professor, and speaker. Her law practice focuses primarily on the relationship between hotels and meeting and event groups including group sales agreements, liability issues, intellectual property, and related issues. Before becoming an attorney, Ms. Hilliard held management roles in hotels, travel, meetings and events, and catering. It was this diverse base of experience that launched both her law and academic careers. A firm believer in walking a mile in someone else's shoes, Ms. Hilliard is able to understand and commiserate with clients and students alike because she's been there. Serving on the faculty of the College of Coastal Georgia, Ms. Hilliard teaches courses in business and hospitality, including Hospitality & Entertainment Law, Hospitality Crisis Management, and Event Management. The co-author of a book on Event Project Management, Ms. Hilliard is also published and widely quoted on legal and crisis management issues in academic and industry publications. She is a guest blogger for the Meeting Professionals International/Plan Your Meetings blog. She has an active social media life (@DrMs. Hilliard) where she posts articles and resources related to crisis management and law in hospitality, meetings, and events (and things about her son). Ms. Hilliard has been honored for professional achievement as an Educator by the Professional Convention Management Association and received national recognition for her contributions to best practices initiatives with the Convention Industry Council and Meeting Professionals International. She is one of only two people in the world to have earned a PhD in Hospitality and the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation as well as being a practicing attorney.

Please visit http://www.tyrahilliard.com for more information.

Ms. Hilliard can be contacted at 912-506-8708 or tyra.hilliard@gmail.com

Coming up in September 2019...

Hotel Group Meetings: Uncommon Destinations

The last few years have been good to the Hotel Group Meetings industry and that trend is expected to continue into 2019. Planners are brimming with confidence due to an expanding economy and increased job creation, which typically results in a boost in corporate meetings. Given this promising outlook, planners are trying to outdo themselves to satisfy the high expectations of their clients. One notable trend is to integrate unusual settings into the meeting experience, hosting groups at local zoos, aquariums, museums, event centers, or other outdoor facilities. The goal is to embrace uncommon destinations, rather than a typical hotel conference room, so that meetings can be memorable, unique and stimulating. This is also part of another trend which is to support all things local - from hosting events at landmark city venues; to catering through local restaurants, food trucks and microbreweries; to hosting off-site excursions like agri-tours, athletic events or scenic 5k routes. However, though the setting might be spectacular, there are still some bedrock components that must be provided to ensure a successful meeting. Free, high-speed Wi-Fi is still one of the most requested services. Planners have to make sure that a comprehensive communication infrastructure is in place so clients can easily connect - and stay connected - to the network throughout the entire meeting experience. Also, technology tools can be used to streamline the booking, registration, and check-in process, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) materials can be utilized to ensure seamless access to conference events. There are also numerous software tools that encourage audience participation, as well as integrating polls, Q&A, surveys and games into speakers' presentations. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group meetings and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.